I woke up yesterday with a jazz song stuck in my head. I did my usual routine in the morning. I got ready and had breakfast. My wife and I made our way to the center of town to get some stuff done. We got into a small bus and it wasn’t fully packed, just enough people to feel uncomfortable. This was my first bus ride since I have been in Karakol. I felt everyone’s eyes on me. It felt exactly like the first time I rode on a bus in Bishkek when I first moved to Kyrgyzstan. It was stuffy, crammed, and uncomfortable. We got off and walked to our destination. When we arrived, LaVena had to get some documents in order at this narrow office.
In the tiny waiting area, all the local people stared at us, curious about who we are. A man asked us where we came from. We told him we are American. He continued to ask us where we came from and insisted that we were from India. We corrected him and then he tried to figure out our ethnicity. “Surely you must be Indian, because you look like you are from India” the man told us. We told him we are from America where there are lots and lots of different people. After a few awkward moments we went into the office area. Once there, the administration lady asked us if we were Turkish or Arab. “No, we are American.” I replied. She smiled and we continued our business. It was interesting to see the expressions on people’s faces as they all realized that we are from America, and yet they could not place our ethnicity. It felt like I had entered a new country all over again.